Seeing differences in bus signage throughout Renton? That’s due to a range of service changes starting Sept. 19, as King County Metro realizes its Renton-Kent-Auburn Area Mobility Plan (RKAAMP).
In June, the county announced that while reduced revenue caused Metro to cut or suspend routes during the regular fall service change in September, the RKAAMP would move forward as planned.
The RKAAMP service lines will operate at full service levels, including returning routes 102, 105, 148, 150, 168, 181, 183, 906, 914, 915 and 917. Five new routes within these cities: 160, 161, 162, 165 and 184. The plan also improves nighttime and weekend service times.
For Renton, Sept. 19 brings the new route 160, combining the 169 pathway with portions of route 180 into a single line, running every 15 minutes during peak on weekdays and every 30 minutes evenings and weekends. Starting in 2023, the RKAAMP will be support the addition of a RapidRide I line between the three cities, eventually replacing this new route 160.
Meanwhile, route 906 is now more direct between the Tukwila Sounder station, Fairwood and Valley Medical Center, and route 105 will be more frequent with improved connections to Renton Technical College. Route 148 has also been realigned to 116th Street and has more service throughout the day.
Besides sustaining RKAAMP to maintain partnerships with the South King County communities, Metro also stated in June that South King County residents have sustained ridership even amidst the pandemic, which reflects on Renton, Kent and Auburn’s reliance on public transportation for essential trips.
Metro’s RKAAMP Project Manager Natalie Westburg told Renton Reporter in late 2019 that the mobility plan will update the network and help fit into where folks commute today.
“Or if they’re not riding transit today, maybe one of the changes will allow them to use that service,” Westburg said.
In a recent blog post, Metro stated it has been over 10 years since it made significant changes to this area of routes.
In numerous public feedback processes over the last couple years, Metro states that Renton residents that participated said they needed more frequent bus service in general; more access in the Highland and Benson Hill areas; more access to childcares, schools, jobs and other services; more reliability for those employed in the industrial Valley area; and improvements for east-west direction transportation.
Metro buses are now including new safety features to keep riders and operators safe during the COVID-19 pandemic including safety partitions and mask dispensers. Metro also offers Renton residents who don’t have an ORCA card a free card loaded with $25 at this webpage.
More information on Renton service changes this month can be found here.